Trying out

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting more regularly with – a fantastic service that let’s you host a blog based on the Evernote app. Simply write your post in evernote, tag it “Published” and it appears on your blog.

Simple as.

It definitely lacks all the bells and whistles of WordPress and most other blog platforms, but in a sense that makes writing easier. I can’t express just how easy it is just throw thoughts down into a note in Evernote and get them onto your Postachio blog.

Meanwhile, I can use Disqus for comments and Google Analytics to track visits to the blog. The latter is interesting – and a lot more powerful than what’s built into WordPress. is a work in progress – functionality is being added all the time. Apparently they’ll be adding a way to import posts from WordPress. If it’s simple and works, I may just do that.

So, for the moment, come and follow me over at

Who knows? Maybe you’ll join me :-)

2013: Things what I have liked and enjoyed and such…

After that last epic post, some other assorted FAQs regarding 2013. Now I don’t hold myself up as an arbiter of taste, but I do enjoy reading about what other people have enjoyed – so maybe you’ll find something interesting in this list…

  • Favourite film of 2013: That would have to be a tie between Avengers and Gravity. Two very, very (!!) different films, but both extremely enjoyable in the own way. The Wolverine was also great fun. Mostly as it was set in Japan and we have already established that I love everything to emerge from Japan.
  • Favourite book of 2013: I’m torn here. I’ve read a few great books this year, but one that kept me on the edge of my seat for hours was The Summer Isles by Ian R. Macleod. I’d recommend it in a heartbeat. Yes, it’s counter-factual history, but it’s also extremely well-written and draws you in. A close second would be another alt-history novel, Inceptio by Alison Morton. I’m reading the sequel right now.
  • Favourite album of 2013: A difficult one, but I think it might be Robin McKelle’s “Modern Antique“. Yes, it’s from 2008, but I only came across it in 2013. For something that was actually released this year, I’d have to go with either Caro Emerald’s “The Shocking Miss Emerald” or Pink Martini’s “Get Happy“.
  • Favourite podcast of 2013: For consistent hilarity and ability to remain thought-provoking, I’ll have to go with “Back to Work“. I recommend it to everyone – yes, it’s an acquired taste and yes, Merlin Mann is my god here on Earth. A close second would be “This Week in Google” for its take on privacy and life in the digital age. And rants from Jeff Jarvis.
  • Favourite comic of 2013: I’m going to weasel out of choosing just one here, as my two favourites are so different but so excellent. First there’s Matt Fraction’s “Hawkeye“. Please…please…forget everything you know about Hawkeye in the Avengers and just read this. Start at issue one and go from there. I guarantee it will surprise and delight you. My second pick would have to be “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan. Completely different and yet very similar in tone. Yes, it’s set in space. Yes, there are aliens. But really it’s about love, life and relationships.
  • Favourite TV show of 2013: While I started to think Nordic Noir and consider both Borgen and The Bridge (both totes amazeballs), the most gripping TV I’ve watched all year was the US re-make of “House of Cards“. Kevin Spacey was just brilliant: charmingly evil. His asides to the camera were chilling. If you haven’t seen it yet, I command you to do so – especially as season two starts in less than two months (that complete weekend is spoken for – Netflix are letting the whole season out of the bag at once).

Shopping frustration…

Now – fair warning – this is going to sound like a complete First World White Whine, but… one of my Amazon “gifts to myself” (bought with some of the vouchers I received from my family) arrived in this morning in rag order.

I (no laughing at the back) bought a ukelele, as one of my 2014 goals is to teach myself to play a new instrument. Ukes are small, cheap and intrinsically hilarious. A lot like me, to be fair…

Anyway, my uke turned up this morning with a neck like crack addict. It had scratches and chips taken out of it all the way down. Far from new, it looked years old.

Not happy.

I got it via Amazon Prime, so I immediately logged on, registered my annoyance and a new one is winging its way to me right now. I have to drop the damaged one off at a collection point, but this is far easier than braving the Xmas sales in London and dealing with an overwrought sales assistant.

I did have time – about 15 mins – to tune the thing and play three chords. Fair enough, they were C, C7 and C7maj so not a stretch, but pleasing all the same.

The replacement should arrive on Monday, giving me the opportunity to practice a little before 2014 kicks off properly. So here’s to plenty of hours of practice, calluses on my finger tips and the playing of Gershwin on a ukelele. Hope that’s not to offensive to his musical memory…

2013…My year in review

Like many, many other bloggers (and normal people) around the world, I’m using this strange between-holidays time to think about what the new year will bring. But also to reflect on 2013.

Any recollection can be incomplete and/or subject to misremembering. Or just blatant fiction-writing. So please excuse any of the former, while I try very hard to avoid the latter.

So, for me, 2013 was characterised by quite a few events of major personal importance. Yep, it was a pretty big year.

For a start, I got married.

11562203814_1a7a2f978f_oThat was pretty major. By anyone’s reckoning I’d say. After over a decade together, I finally made an honest man of @FrankDJS. And we had a fantastic honeymoon in New York. It was a long time coming (the marriage, not the trip to New York), but all the better for the waiting. We had it just how we wanted it – a very quick civil partnership ceremony, followed by an excellent dinner with our two closest friends at the Oxo Tower.

For a whole host of reasons, it was the best meal of my life.

Again, thanks to all friends and people who only know me through this blog or Twitter for all the nice messages of support. It made all the difference. That said, I’m still getting used to the words “married” and “husband”.

We bought our first home together.

Our New Home - 24Yep, another major milestone. After renting in the village-like atmosphere of Wapping for nearly 10 years, we upped sticks and moved “down the street” to Canary Wharf.

Compared to most people I know, the purchase and move appear to have gone very smoothly. It didn’t really feel like it at the time, but we got there in the end.

I can say with complete certainty that we haven’t looked back since. I smile daily waking up in this apartment (admittedly not immediately – I’m still not a morning person) and love the location, the amenities and the whole vibe of living here.

We went from arguing with the owner of the coffee shop underneath our old apartment, to being greeted by name by the concierges in our new building.

From looking out onto the strange sexual exploits of neighbours in buildings across the street to watching the sun reflect off the towers of Canary Wharf. Plus the whole pool, gym and sauna thing. Yes, I’m still addicted to the sauna.

Plus, I feel very grown up – it was bound to happen at some point!

310978_10151643583879187_968400615_nThe running

After running a load of half-marathons over the past few years, I ran my first marathon in 2013. Happily, it was the London Marathon, so I was running on home turf. I had trained like a mother-lover, but despite all my efforts I was still tripped up by a scumbag who pushed past me and left me with a badly injured knee.

I managed to finish, but a lot slower than the first half would have you believe – I crossed the line in 4:51, when I was aiming for 4 hours. But still – I completed it, and for the most part, had a ball. I also raised  about £1800 for Epilepsy Action – the main motivation to keep going after the injury.

It hasn’t put me off marathons, though I know it’ll be a while before I’m marathon-ready again. First there are some 10km runs to get under the belt, along with a few half-marathons. Maybe I’ll be ready by the end of 2014. We’ll see…

The surgery

11150292173_75939cfbf6_bAs a direct result of the afore-mentioned marathon, I ended up in surgery in late November – something I’m still recovering from. I suppose I’m lucky to have reached 37 without a running/sports injury, but the fact that I won’t be running again until at least mid-February 2014 still annoys me. Can’t complain about the medical care though – even though my career as a knee model is in complete tatters. Nah… just two very small scars.

Sadly, when they “opened me up”, they found quite a lot of scar tissue, damage to my femur and arthritis. All the same, I’m going to be 38 in a few weeks – should I really be surprised that my joints aren’t virginal?

Le Japonisme

10629335304_6776625975_hIn October, we enjoyed our first ever trip to Japan – 8 days in Tokyo. It was the first holiday in a while when I was seriously bummed to be leaving for home. Normally I’ve had enough of any city after a week. I can report with certainty that Tokyo has shot to the top of my list of favourite cities. I’m smitten! I know we’ll be back – though it can’t come soon enough.

I can’t narrow down my reasons for loving Japan so much, but would point to the unfailing friendliness of every single person I met, along with the cleanliness and efficiency of Tokyo. I know we’ve only scratched the surface of Japan – it’s a bit like visiting London and saying you’ve “done” the UK.

I couldn’t escape Japan this year. We visited an amazing exhibit of Japanese calligraphy while in Madrid in November and then stumbled across an exhibition of Spanish-Japanese relations illustrating how the two countries have influenced each other in trade and art. Back in London, we went to see an exhibition of Japanese prints at the Old Truman Brewery.

Actually, there was quite a bit of travel in 2013, with excellent trips to Madrid, Mallorca, Amsterdam, Dublin and Edinburgh. Not including the business trips that were sprinkled across my calendar in 2013. I got much better at packing, in terms of both speed and economy. Multiple two-days trips for business have turned me into a ruthless packer and an expert shirt-folder.

Looking Ahead

Looking to 2014, I wonder if it can top the roller coaster that was 2013. A few friends have commented on what a busy (and exciting!) year it was. I’m hoping 2014 is as much fun, but contains fewer injuries, illnesses and undesirable business trips. I’m looking for more fun travel, more music (watch this space) and bigger and better things on the work front.

But who knows? The best laid plans and all that…

If I – and those closest to me – can have a healthy and happy 2014, well…who could ask for anything more? And to you – you random hordes who seem to visit this blog in ever-increasing numbers – to you I say this: thanks for sharing 2013 with me. I hope you’ll hang around for 2014. And I hope it’s been as much fun for you as it has me.

Onwards and upwards…or as the great Stan Lee would say: Excelsior!